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Nanowire processors pack more arithmetic/logic

Posted: 16 Feb 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:programmable nanowire processor? nanowire arrays? SiGe nanowires?

Researchers at Harvard University who recently collaborated with Mitre Corp. on a demonstration of basic ALU functionality for SiGe nanowire have concluded that nanowire processors will contain more arithmetic and logic per square inch than conventional chips.

The Harvard-Mitre nanowire arrays were billed as the world's first programmable nanoprocessor.

Produced by the laboratory of Charles Liberan admirer of the legendary Richard Feynmanthe ultra-tiny nanocircuits were composed of 30nm thick, oxide-insulated wires, which were constructed into hierarchically arranged tile-like patterns that can be scaled for any-sized problem. The crossbar wire arrays performed both operations and memory functions, since the state of nanowire FETs was non-volatile.

Lieber claimed that the nanowire processing functions also consumed less power than conventional circuits, which must constantly be powered to retain memory functions. Next, the researchers hope to demonstrate the kind of control functions needed to organize the nanoprocessors into an architecture to enable smart sensors and CE devices to be fabricated with SiGe nanowires.

Funding for the project was provided by a faculty fellowship from the U.S. Department of Defense National Security Science and Engineering, the NanoEnabled Technology Initiative and the Mitre Innovation Program.

- R. Colin Johnson
??EE Times

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